Hodgson answers your questions

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We asked you to send in the questions you would ask World Superbike championship leader Neil Hodgson. Well we’ve taken the best and the factory Ducati rider has taken the time to reply. Read on to find out what he said.

What is your opinion on Rossi staying with Honda for such a huge sum? Do you feel the time has come for him to prove himself on another bike? William Tracey, 26, Fareham Hants

Neil Hodgson – I think he should get as much money as he can and fair play to him.

You seem quite emotional. Are you going to cry like a baby when you win the title this year? Wayne Campbell, 33, from Alton, Hampshire.

NH – Probably but hopefully not. It’s one of those things that you just can not control. I’m actually not that emotional but I can’t say yes and I can’t say no. I certainly wouldn’t stage it thinking I’ll cry because it will make me look good. It definitely wouldn’t because I cry like a girl.

Now that you have such a commanding lead in the championship, will you go for the win to entertain the fans or go for the points and settle for a place? Stuart Cummings, 54, Heathrow.

NH – I’ll go for the win.

What’s the strangest/funniest thing that’s ever gone through your mind before the start of a race? Chris Cook , Ipswich.

NH – The strangest thing is the fear sometimes of a first corner crash and you think ‘I might end up dead’. I’ve had horrible weird thoughts like that but then you think ‘what are you doing thinking like that’. Usually it’s those races that you really fly.

Which of the British wild cards do you rate most highly? Simon Lock, 17, Manchester

NH – In this order – Shakey, JR, Rutter, Kagayama

Having just visited Donnington for the Moto GP, I would rate Brands as one of the most spectator friendly circuits going. How does it fair for a rider/racer? Gavin Riggall, 20, Rochester, Kent

NH – It’s awesome, it’s a fantastic circuit but unfortunately it’s a trade off between a track being good for a spectator usually means bad for a rider, because the track is very dangerous. Unfortunately the spectators are too close, which means the barriers are too close to the track and if you crash you’re going to get pretty hurt. It’s good for you guys but bad for us.

I am working at Brands Hatch Friday night making sure that nothing happens to all the racers and their gear. Will you make me a cup of tea and autograph the back of my police shirt? Richard Wingett, 44, Police Officer in Maidstone, Kent.

NH – You wouldn’t want to taste my tea because it tastes like p***. If you grab hold of me I’ll sign the back of your shirt. I appreciate you looking after all my stuff.

If you move up to MotoGP, who do you think would be the best to fill your position as Ducati’s no.1 WSB rider? Patrick ‘rat boy’ Flavin, 21, West Yorkshire

NH – James Toseland

Neil, I won your boots in an MCN competition from 2001, Do you want them back? Or can I really keep them forever? Melissa Bond, 15, Pershore, Worcs.

NH – Keep them forever, I’m sure they smell really really bad!

Does the fact that you will be a father soon change your attitude to racing? James Wren, Oxford.

NH – Not in the slightest but it’s something that I’m really really looking forward too.

Any team orders between you and Xaus, Honestly? Jill Ashford, Walsall, West Midlands

NH – Not to kill each other

How much of a problem is the front end feel (or reported lack of) on the 999 – are some tracks more of a problem than others and is it just because of the lack of set up data since its a totally new bike? Jeff Bell, Onchan, Isle of Man.

NH – The front end is a problem at some tracks and not others. It depends on the nature of the circuit. I’m not sure how it will be here at Brands Hatch but I don’t think it will be a problem.

It must have required great focus to get where you are. You seem to be operating at a consistently higher level now, but do you get the same ‘buzz’ from racing or does that get a bit lost along the way to success? David Eyre, 48, Oldham

NH – Good question. It does actually get lost on the way to success. There are times when the buzz is very good but at times even when I’ve won races this year I’ve had very little buzz from it. I find that hard to believe and I’m sure you do but that’s the way racing is.

What motivates you now you are consistently performing well? Ceri Braybrook, Spalding, Lincolnshire.

NH – The fear of failure, I want to continue doing the best I can. When the cameras are on you after a race you want to make loads of excuses and cry like a baby, but you’ve got to take it on the chin like a man.

Do you have any particular pre race warm-up or psyche-up that you use to get in the right frame of mind such as listening to music? Laird Gilfillan, North Berwick

NH – I try to just relax, there is no routine, it’s just a fear thing. The fear builds and by the time you’re on the line you’re full of fear – fear of losing. I don’t need any music to pump me up and I feel very calm and relaxed before the races.

Check back regularly throughout the weekend for full reports on all the action from Brands Hatch plus updates on the German GP.

MCN Staff

By MCN Staff